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THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD: The Essentials

Monday June, 24 2019 at 12:30 AM
Saturday July, 13 2019 at 12:00 PM
Saturday August, 17 2019 at 02:00 PM

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SYNOPSIS

A young Saxon nobleman is forced to become an outlaw when the evil Norman Prince John usurps the throne from King Richard the Lionhearted, to whom Robin has sworn his allegiance. Pulling together a resistance movement from those who have suffered at the hands of the Prince and his henchmen, Sir Guy of Gisbourne and the Sheriff of Nottingham, Robin Hood robs from the wealthy oppressors to provide for his downtrodden fellow Saxons, woos the Norman beauty Maid Marian, and prevents John's ascendance to the throne, making way for the triumphant return of the rightful king.

Directors: Michael Curtiz, William Keighley
Producer: Hal B. Wallis
Screenplay: Norman Reilly Raine, Seton I. Miller
Cinematography: Tony Gaudio, Sol Polito
Editing: Ralph Dawson
Art Direction: Carl Jules Weyl
Original Music: Erich Wolfgang Korngold
Cast: Errol Flynn (Robin Hood), Olivia de Havilland (Maid Marian), Basil Rathbone (Sir Guy of Gisbourne), Claude Rains (Prince John), Alan Hale (Little John), Patric Knowles (Will Scarlett), Eugene Pallette (Friar Tuck).
C-102m. Close captioning. Descriptive video.

Why THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD is Essential

One of the most popular adventure films of all time, The Adventures of Robin Hood not only remains a cherished memory for many audiences but a major influence for other filmmakers. One has only to look at the original three entries of the Star Wars series to see its continuing impact: the freedom-fighting outlaws pitted against a powerful and corrupt monarchy, the daredevil antics, a dash of wry sarcasm and tongue-in-cheek humor, and the antagonism-turned-to-love relationship at its heart. These were all part of the phenomenally successful Warner Brothers formula for what turned out to be the studio's most expensive picture at that time and one of its biggest hits, a blockbuster before the word was even in common use.

In the early 1930s, Warners was the contemporary urban studio, maker of fast-paced crime dramas, street smart New York musicals and hard-edged social-problem dramas that reflected the darkest moods of the Depression. Big, colorful costume epics and productions wrapped in literary and historical prestige were made elsewhere, but executives at Warners decided they could master that genre as well. They found their inspiration in a devilishly handsome young Tasmanian with a roguish air and an athletic knack for leaping over parapets and besting evil aristocrats at swordplay. Together, Errol Flynn and Warner Brothers, with considerable help from director Michael Curtiz, brought back the swashbuckler, a staple of the silent era that had fallen out of favor. The Adventures of Robin Hood wasn't the first of these, but it certainly took Flynn's image to its greatest heights, thanks to a winning blend of action, romance, comedy and historical detail.

Curtiz took over direction of the picture from William Keighley, whose work the studio found inadequate to the needs of such a rousing tale. As producer Hal Wallis (who deserves much of the credit for the final shape and sensibility ofThe Adventures of Robin Hood) noted about Curtiz, he loved to "work with mobs and props of this kind," and that love is evident, no more so than in the exciting and atmospheric final duel between Robin and Sir Guy. Not only is it a brilliantly choreographed action sequence but one whose theatricalism is heightened by Curtiz's masterful use of set, props and dramatic lighting.

The Adventures of Robin Hood is the hallmark of what a major studio could do during Hollywood's Golden Age: glorious Technicolor, sumptuous sets and costumes, a well-structured literate script, exciting action, a rousing award-winning score, and impeccable casting. It is the perfect conjunction of a star at the apex of his image and appeal and a master producer with an eye for the tiniest detail, a sense for what the public most enjoyed, and the ability to draw the system's top artists, technicians and craftsmen into a crack working unit to produce what is still considered one of the best films of its type.

by Rob Nixon

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